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AN 18-member athletics team is scheduled to head for Malawi this morning for the Southern Africa Region Cross-Country Championships pencilled for Saturday. The event will see athletes from all the Southern Africa Region countries competing in the seniors and juniors categories. Zimbabwe will field six athletes in the senior men’s event and for the senior women, junior men and junior women they will field four athletes in each category of the three sections.

The team is expected to leave for Blantyre this morning but some of the athletes feel they will not have enough time to recover from fatigue considering that they are coming from another competition held last Saturday in Kadoma.

Seasoned middle and long-distance runner, Gilbert Mutandiro, said they were hopeful of making a big impression.

“Preparations have been going on well but after last week’s event in Kadoma I am still recovering because the course was muddy, so it really had some effect on us.

“And also travelling tomorrow (today) will affect us because we will not have enough time to rest. We will arrive on Friday and the race is on Saturday, it would have been better if we had travelled today (yesterday).

“However, I have been doing well and I hope I will do well in Malawi, I am looking forward to winning,” said Mutandiro.

Another seasoned athlete, Olivia Chitate, who will compete in the senior women’s section, shared the same sentiments.

“At the moment I don’t have any problems, it was just a minor injury and I am looking forward to good competition.

“In the previous edition in Lesotho I came second in 30 minutes so I am hoping to do better this time around.

“I want to beat my previous time because if I qualify for the World Championships I will need to work on my time,” Chitate said.

Team coach, Watson Madenyika, said they had a good team.

“We have got experienced athletes, the likes of Munyaradzi Jari, who has already qualified for the World Championships. He also won the qualifying event in Kadoma. We have Tendai Zimuto, who has just graduated from the juniors, he won gold at the Region Five Games 5000m event. We also have Gilbert Mutandiro, he is an experienced athlete. In the senior women we have Olivia Chitate, Constance Nyasango, Patience Murove and Caroline Mhandu. It’s a g team also,” said Madenyika.

Team

Senior men: Munyaradzi Jari, Jacob Mugomeri, Nkosiyazi Sibanda, Wyson Blessing, Tendai Zimuto, Gilbert Mutandiro.

Senior Women: Olivia Chitate, Constance Nyasango, Patience Murove, Caroline Mhandu.

Junior Men: Conscious Hwenjere, Hlalani Ngwenya, Titus Nyathi, Bismark Ndlovu.

Junior Women: Enlitha Ncube, Tariro Madzivire, Annah Bungu, Marian Pfumbidza.

Source : The Herald

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